By Kayla Smithgall
The 2015-2016 boys’ varsity soccer team consisted of seniors Erick Krier, Hector Bocanegra, Sam Chaney, Daniel Sonnenberg and Josh Baray, juniors Brady Krier, Josh Lechman, Jacob Griebel, Jacob Breidenbach, Logan Kiefer, Brett Glissman, Dustin Quint, Ryan Ruf, Justin Gonzales and Victor Ferri, sophomores Zach Karg and Ernesto Ochoa, and freshmen Isaac Deleon and Jesus Rivera.
The team’s record this season was 5-0 in their league and 10-5 overall.
Ben Hackbarth has been coaching soccer at SHS for five years. He was an assistant coach for two years and became head coach in 2012.
When a player scores a goal, he gets two points. When he has an assist, he gets one point.
Their season began with a home game against Fort Morgan. The boys lost in overtime 3-2. Ochoa and Chaney had one goal for two points each and Kiefer had an assist for one point. B. Krier had 12 saves.
Sonnenberg has been playing for eight years. He decided to play because his siblings did. His favorite part of playing soccer is hanging out with friends.
The next week they played against Mead and won 5-0. Ochoa scored two goals, for a total of four points. Bocanegra and Chaney both scored one goal, receiving two points each. Kiefer had one goal and four assists for six points. Quint had two assists and received two points. B. Krier had four saves during the game.
“Honestly, I’m not exactly certain what drove me to continue my soccer career. Although, I love the intensity of each game, the feeling of home when I step foot on the field, and the camaraderie that my teammates and I strengthen each year. I think those are some of the strongest influences that keep me involved in soccer,” said Kiefer.
A few days later, they played North Ridge and lost in double overtime 1-0. B. Krier had 12 saves.
In Sonnenberg’s opinion, soccer is different from other sports because it involves more running. Kiefer agrees.
“An average soccer player runs seven miles each game, which is tough to do with a mix of sprinting, jogging, and speed-walking. One gets physically drained each time, but in a game which lasts almost an hour and a half with no stoppage except a halftime, you can’t get tired or lose the discipline you’ve been taught, “he said.
The boys traveled to Fort Morgan and lost 3-2. E. Krier and Lechman both scored a goal for two points and Kiefer had two assists for two points. B. Krier had seven saves.
This season, the Kriers were able to play together on varsity.
“I pick on him a lot,” said E. Krier.
“Yeah, he picks on me a lot, but I am used to it. Overall I like playing with him, when I am working on goalie stuff he really helps and tells me what I need to do to fix it, or when I am playing on the field he is really supportive,” said B. Krier.
The Tigers then played Estes Park and won 4-1. Chaney had two goals for four points and Quint had one for two points. Bocanegra had one goal and two assists for four points and Kiefer had an assist for one point. B. Krier had eight saves.
The team had a home game against Greeley West and lost 3-1. Chaney had a goal for two points and Quint had an assist for one point. E. Krier had 12 saves during the game.
Krier’s favorite part of playing soccer is being a goalie so he doesn’t have to run very much. He has played soccer for four years. He decided to play soccer his freshman year because he didn’t want to play football.
They won their next game against Valley 8-1. Chaney had three goals and two assists for eight points. Ochoa had three goals and one assist for seven points. Quint had one goal and one assist for three points. Karg had a goal for two points, B. Krier had an assist for one point and Kiefer had two assists for two points. E. Krier had seven points.
“I’m German. I have to play soccer,” said JV player and exchange student Malte Kuessner. Kuessner enjoyed going to different places; his favorite place the team traveled to was Estes Park. His goal was to score and have fun, both of which were accomplished.
The boys defeated Community Christian 4-1. Lechman had two goals for four points and Chaney scored a goal for two points.
The Tigers were victorious against Roosevelt 8-0 at home. Chaney scored three goals for six points. Quint, Lechman and Kiefer each scored a goal for two points. E. Krier and Griebel each had an assist for one point. Karg had two assists for two points. Ochoa had two goals and an assist for five points. E. Krier had three saves.
The team won again against Estes Park 1-0 and Frontier Academy 2-1. At Estes, Chaney had a goal for two points and E. Krier had seven saves.
They then lost to Liberty Common 2-0.
The boys captured the win in overtime against Valley 2-1. Ochoa scored two goals for two points and Chaney had a assist for one point. E. Krier had six saves.
“The craziest thing to happen is either when our coach got a bit too passionate about explaining his belief and got ejected from a game my sophomore year or when Josh [Lechman] broke his nose with an amazing, diving header during our game at Fort Morgan this past year; there was blood gushing everywhere,” said Kiefer.
The Tigers won their next two games against Roosevelt 5-0 and Frontier Academy 1-0. At Roosevelt, Ochoa and Quint both had one goal and one assist for three points, Chaney had two goals for four points, Lechnman had two assists for two points and Kiefer scored a goal for two points. E. Krier had five saves. At Frontier, Lechman scored a goal for two points and Kiefer had an assist for one point. E. Krier had eight saves.
In the first round of playoffs, the boys lost to Peak to Peak in overtime 3-2. B. Krier and Ochoa both scored a goal for two points and Chaney has an assist for one point. E. Krier had six saves.
“My biggest goal for the season was to break some records, either as a team and/or individually. Our team as whole broke quite a few and made history for Sterling soccer, which is one of the greatest feelings to have! “said Kiefer.
As a team, the boys earned the most wins in a season (also known as the best record), the lowest goals against average in a season, the first team from Sterling to win their league, the first team to ever score in a playoff game and the most goals scored in a playoff game of two.
“To be honest we were not sure how this year’s team would perform. We had some talent and some experience but a large number of our varsity squad from last year had graduated, and we were starting the season with some setbacks due to disciplinary suspensions. As a coaching staff, going into the season we were worried about our lack of depth and we seemingly lacked a “game changer” who could carry the team if necessary. Fortunately for us, our strength was not in individuals but in our team as a whole, and that made the difference,” said Hackbarth.